Cargo Congestion. What Gives?

Cargo Congestion brings Continual Crunch

Ocean cargo congestion & disruption reached critical levels in 2020 and then got worse. Where we once had a plethora of containers waiting for transportation off ships anchored in San Pedro Bay, we’re now looking at a dumpster fire of delays and fees. It would be a comedy of errors in how to break ocean logistics if the real costs to consumers and economies weren’t devastating. 

From the ships waiting at anchorage to the railroads that are embargoing containers from the west coast to try and catch up and clear backlogs, there is no single point in the entire supply chain that isn’t under catastrophic stress at this moment. Air rates remain high as diverted urgent supplies soak up capacity in the skies with worried retailers desperately trying to find a way to get goods on shelves despite the ocean cargo disruption. 

Unfortunately, the solutions that each individual point is deploying to reduce their burdens are creating ripples of disruption back and forth down the line. The railroad embargoes impacted the delays in trucking which delayed the return of containers and so forth. To avoid metaphors that capitalize on the word “strangled” it can best be described as, traffic flows aren’t smoothed by adding extra stoplights, and the fewer exits you have, the more cars will be on the road. 

Containers can’t get off the road because warehousing is full up and down the US west coast and they can’t get on the rail because there are no chassis to transport them from the port and it’s all dazzlingly expensive. Rates are up $6000 or more per container since April of 2021 which doesn’t take into account the cost increases for the eighteen months prior. 

These are unprecedented times.

There are no answers and anyone who thinks they have answers is probably lying to you and telling you what they hope will happen. Despite decades of logistics experience and market knowledge, none of us has ever seen anything like this hit all at once. Through this, Argents remains firm. 

We’re always looking at options to avoid the worst of the delays and most congested ports, but this isn’t the time to panic and start rerouting before considering the time and cost delays. Yes, there are options, but Los Angeles is a stalwart port for a reason; their infrastructure is better equipped to handle the record level of imports than most smaller ports. Smaller ports will have less traffic, but it will congest faster and take longer to untangle. 

Argents offers Solutions.

Argents is doubly ready for the west coast issues as we can try to divert cargo to our Seattle warehouse for our clients if they need that space. We’re fortunate to have options we can show our customers who are stuck between an ocean and a bottleneck. 

Our suggestion is to reach out to your Argents representative and discuss your options and ideas. With advance notice and flexibility we can build a logistics plan to fit your needs and budget, but we need your input. Let’s discover the solutions to your logistics concerns from cargo congestion and beyond.